Pasadena is rich in possible venues for a memorable occasion
By Linda Fields Gold
Back when I was getting married, our moms called the church or synagogue, a hotel or the woman’s
club or country club, and they booked a date and everything else followed. The coordinator at the
venue had a list of photographers and caterers and where to order wedding invitations (which
came in a choice of either ecru or white and choice of two fonts ). And then you went to pick out
a dress at Robinson’s or Bullock’s or Hinshaw’s.
And that was that.
But things have changed.
Recently, I accompanied a group of young women about to get married on a “Pasadena Bride Tour,”
a trip designed to highlight just a few of the many prime locations for weddings and receptions.
There were four engaged ladies and three of them had a least one friend along as moral support.
We were 14 in all on the shuttle, including Aaron Gil of FotoNuova Photography and Laurel
Pellegrini and Chabeli Sanchez of P.S. and Associates Event Planning. Those three were the sponsors
and coordinators of our tour.
We met at FotoNuova in San Marino and set off for Pasadena’s Grande Dame, The Langham.
This hotel was purchased by Henry E. Huntington in 1908 and opened in 1911.
A few of the original hotel areas, with stained glass windows and carved, gilded ceilings and
magnificent chandeliers and crystal sconces, are still in use as are some original gardens.
And what is new is just as glorious (and posh).
Imagine a wedding in the peaceful Japanese Garden and a reception in the nearby elegant
and historic Georgian Ballroom, or choose the Horseshoe Garden, which allows an entrance
by the bride in a horse-drawn carriage — or even a small elephant.
The hotel offers wedding food and beverage packages for three elegant ballrooms that range
from $20,000 to $60,000, and can accommodate from 150 to 650 guests. In general,
luncheon receptions begin at $150 per guest, and dinner receptions at $200 per person,
although prices depend on the day of the week.
HAPPY TRAILS GARDEN
Off to Happy Trails Garden Catering (not to be confused with the song by Dale Evans).
This was an unexpected treat. We hopped off the bus and walked through a wrought
iron gate into a magical secret garden. A huge, Jack-in-the-Beanstalk tree was having a
new deck built around it. Owner Katherine Black was there to meet us and explain
possible options to use this strictly outdoor venue. She said that only one event per day
is booked, so that no one feels rushed.
At least two of the “brides” perked up at this more casual location. Rental starts around
$3,000, not including food or drinks. The catering would range from $100 to $120 per
guest, for up to 200 people.
Florist Amanda Claverie was there; she brought out a half dozen sample table decoration
choices, including a particularly stunning one with red roses, kale and peacock feathers.
On the way to our second-to-last stop, Aaron suggested that the bus take us past
Pasadena’s very photogenic and often photographed Spanish-inspired City Hall, completed
in 1927. He pointed out the fountain and balcony, both excellent photo spots.
We checked with the city and learned that a Pasadena resident can rent the courtyard
and rotunda is $310 an hour for a four-hour minimum. (Non-residents pay more.)
There is an hourly rate for set-up and clean up, $131. Do you need electrical outlets for anything —
perhaps a keyboard or CD player? That’s $121. Did you want the fountain on after 6 p.m. or
on a weekend? $186. Open restrooms are $215 (a security guard for the restrooms is determined
by current contract. Trash and recycling fees: $292. Security guard for when the restrooms
are in use – and they must be in use and open to the public if it is after normal business hour
s – is a four hour minimum, amount determined by contract.
An event/sound monitor, required from set-up to clean-up, $42 per hour. If you are thinking about
doing that charming ceremony where the bride and the groom use their separate candles to light
the one in the middle? You’ll need a separate Open Flame Permit from the Fire Department.
The cleaning/security deposit, $783.
If you are serving alcohol, there is a separate form to fill out, plus you must stop serving one hour
before the end of your event. Do not think about throwing rice at the bridal couple; but birdseed is OK.
ROCOCO AND PANDORA
Soon we were at Rococo Room on West Union Street, connected to the Cafe Santorini. This seemingly
traditional Italian restaurant actually has lots of choices for catering, not just from Italy, but also
nearby Mediterranean areas including Greece and North Africa. Weekend wedding receptions for
150 people can range from $3,000 to $7,000 food and beverage minimum. Add use of the mezzanine
for $750; a cash bar option starts at $1,000.
Our final stop was Pandora on Green, a 1908 building that has been newly renovated. This elegant
location, also associated with Cafe Santorini, has 15 custom hand-blown glass chandeliers from
Murano, Italy, and is a space that could have many different personalities. Weekend weddings require
a minimum of $6,000 to $15,000 food and beverage, plus $2,000 for a cash bar.
Other stops on the tour included Town and Country Event Rentals ($2,500 to $4,000 to rent tables,
chairs, linens, china, utensils and glassware for 150 guests) and the Blo-Out Lounge for makeup and
hair ($145 for a bridal do and $145 for bridal airbrushed makeup, less for bridesmaids). But in five and
a half hours, the group couldn’t possibly cover all the wedding locations, nor the restaurants offerin
One of the best-known Pasadena wedding locations, for example, is the Brookside Golf Course, which
is next to the Rose Bowl.
At Brookside, wedding packages start at $45 per person. A casual wedding can be held on the patio or grass.
There also are indoor rooms, ranging from a Mediterranean to Madrid, accommodating from 50 to 300 guests.
1401 S. Oak Knoll Ave.
Jill Hilts, director of catering sales
Happy Trails Garden Catering
207 S. Fair Oaks
Pasadena City Hall
100 N. Garfield Ave.
Public Works Department: 626-744-4195
The Rococo Room
70 W. Union St.
Pandora on Green
33 W. Green St.
Brookside Golf Course
1133 N. Rosemont Ave.
Private Events Team, 626-577-4497, ext. 2
BRIDAL TOUR SPONSORS
936 Huntington Drive, Suite E
P.S. and Associates Event Planning
Chabeli Sanchez or Laurel Pellegrini
Town and Country
Distinctive Event Rentals and Services
523 S. Arroyo Parkway
Rosebud Floral Designer
62 N. Raymond Ave.